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AUS Tertiary Update Vol.3 No.24


To suit the workings of national office, we will endeavour to produce “Tertiary Update” on Thursdays from today on.

The Association of University Staff (AUS) has issued proceedings to challenge the internal academic decision-making processes followed by Massey University in its ‘repositioning’ exercise.
AUS Executive Director, Rob Crozier, said the Association believed that the mandated procedures at Massey University had not been followed.
Earlier this week Massey University released University Council decisions relating to the controversial 'repositioning' and cost-cutting project to AUS representatives. The University has agreed not to implement any decisions with staffing implications until the AUS legal challenge is heard in the High Court, probably in mid-September.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Massey Council Rejects Staff Voice
2. Sad Day for Massey
3. Victoria (Very) Short List of VC Candidates
4. Auckland University Establishes First Research Institute
5. Otago Roll Drop Less Than Expected

Massey staff were disappointed that discussions regarding the ‘repositioning’ proposals were held in secret last Friday at a University Council meeting, with a number of staff refusing to leave when the meeting went into a closed session.
AUS Branch President, Associate Professor Tony Lewis said the only changes Council made to the draft proposals were in the Humanities and Social Sciences College on the Albany campus.
Recommendations relating to the College structure and reduction of staff at Albany have been referred back to the Vice-Chancellor for reconsideration. “This was a change that AUS endorsed and we are pleased with this result.”
Professor Lewis said that staff must become proactive around appointments to “these crucial decision-making bodies such as Academic Board and, particularly, University Council”. He pointed out that many Council members were appointed by the previous government, and their decisions were based on principles now out of step with current government policies.
“Our immediate focus is now to prepare for the case before the High Court and to turn to the industrial campaign currently in progress over stalled contract negotiations.”

Manawatu’s Evening Standard, in an editorial this week, said it will be a sad day for the cherished values of academia if the fate of Massey University staff is finally decided in court, but there was an air of inevitability about the direction in which things were headed.
The paper said the best that can be hoped for now is that everyone has their day in court sooner, rather than later, so that people can then get on with their lives.
“The harm that has already been done to the university in the worldwide community of scholars, and in the minds of those thinking about studying at Massey, is probably inestimable.
“As the university's council heard, what is proposed is the biggest mass lay-off of academic staff ever planned in this country - surely history no-one wants to make.”

The two short-listed candidates for the position of Vice-Chancellor will be on campus on Monday 14 August to talk to staff and meet with various groups.
The two candidates, Professor Neil Quigley, Dean of Victoria’s Commerce and Administration Faculty, and Professor Stuart McCutcheon, currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Massey University, both appear to offer a top-down entrepreneurial approach to the modern university.

The University of Auckland is establishing its first major research institute — the Liggins Institute.
Vice-Chancellor Dr John Hood said the Institute would bring together three leading research teams to perform medical research of the highest possible international standing, relevant to disorders in perinatology, growth and development. It will also have the vital role of transferring knowledge to the clinical arena.
The Institute is named after Sir Graham Liggins, an Emeritus Professor of The University of Auckland, New Zealand’s most respected biomedical scientist. His discovery of the factors controlling the birth process, and development of preventative treatment of lung disease in premature newborns had a major impact on obstetrics and neonatology in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

University of Otago’s roll this year is likely to be better than expected, with a drop of less than 1% on last year, the Vice-Chancellor believes.
Dr Graeme Fogelberg said the latest estimate was 45 EFTS better than even the revised budget prediction.
Enrolment figures early this year had university officials fearing a 4% total roll drop. Since then they have undertaken a marketing campaign to attract more first-year students, as that was the area of the largest decrease.
Health sciences had managed to increase its numbers and humanities had had the largest fall, but it was hoped the new communications courses in film and media studies would help the humanities roll.
Dr Fogelberg said the university was ‘tracking well’ with its budget and was likely to meet its revised target operating surplus of about $8 million.
This week the council approved 23 courses for the university's trial summer school.


National Tertiary Education Union members at the University of Melbourne will strike for 48 hours from August 21.
They will also protest at the university's open day on August 20, handing out leaflets and staffing an information booth.
Union members are aggrieved at the 22 months taken over enterprise bargaining on their latest pay claim. A union official said the strike would be the longest held at the university.

The recommendation for a new Vice-Chancellor, made by the Joint Committee of the Senate and Council of the University of the South Pacific in May was rejected by the University Council.
A new committee has been appointed to look at the same applications and make another recommendation to the Council in October 2000.

Vice-Chancellors in the UK are ready to accept an ombudsman to handle complaints by students and staff as the old universities concede the demise of the visitor system. It seems likely that a single ombudsman could be appointed.
This accords with the AUS policy for the appointment of a tertiary ombudsman in New Zealand, an issue that the Labour Government included in its pre-election policy.

AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website:

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